The Quietest Places on Earth

“Quiet is the new loud,” as one indie-folk album title proclaims. While peace and quiet aren’t as abundant as they were before, several signs tell you that they may be making a comeback.

No matter how hyper they are, people do feel worn-out sometimes, looking for some faraway places to have a much-needed respite from their chaotic lifestyle, as well as the noise pollution surrounding them.

More people now realize the value of peace and quiet. This is probably due to certain phenomena, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. It has made the world standing still – literally – with lockdowns imposed in several towns and cities around the world.

Being somewhere far away from the human noise seems a rare occurrence. And when you do find a peaceful and quiet retreat, consider that as a precious moment. While there isn’t such a thing as completely “noiseless” environments in their natural state, the soothing sounds of nature will placate your high-strung soul and revitalize your jaded outlook in life.

Discover some of our planet Earth’s quietest places (and not the last ones, we hope).

1) Antarctica

two penguins behind an iceberg

Antarctica is one of the few places on earth that’s remained untouched by human civilization. While it is populated by a few thousand people depending on the season, the earth’s fifth-largest continent has no cities or towns. It’s a distant and isolated icy desert, which offers tranquility and solitude for the more adventurous. Visitors can get to Antarctica only via ships and it can cost you a few thousand dollars to go there (and the cost does not even include the price of flight tickets to the boarding point for the cruise). However, the stillness that Antarctica offers is priceless, and the vast icy landscapes will take your breath away.

2) Olympic National Park (USA)

a lush forest in Washingon
This 922, 650-acre national park in the US state of Washington is visited by over two million tourists every year. In recent years, active efforts have helped preserve the natural quiet of the Olympic National Park, which is also the site of the Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest and wettest temperate rainforests in the country.

The most notable project is the One Inch Square of Silence, established in 2005 by acoustic ecologist and author Gordon Hempton. The project is established upon the premise that to make that one square inch of the park’s space to be free from noise pollution, the miles of space surrounding that inch must be truly free from unwanted noise. Some airlines have re-routed their flights to avoid causing noise pollution at the square inch. The abundant moss that grows throughout the park absorb the surrounding noise, significantly contributing to the lush forests’ quietness.

3) Kronotsky Nature Reserve (Russia)

Geysers at the Kronotsky Nature Reserve

The favorite place for people studying natural sciences in real life, the Kronotsky Nature Reserve is located in the remote Russian Far East on the coast of the Kamatchaka Peninsula. This nature reserve is a vast expanse of land replete with lakes, mountains, volcanoes, and geysers. It is home to over 750 plant species and around 800 brown bears.

This 11,421-square kilometer nature reserve restricts its number of tourists to only 3,000 a year, as it gives priority access to scientists. The sheer size of the nature reserve and the lack of human involvement on the grounds allow for minimal sonic disruptions, except for the occasional sounds from the bursting geysers, the soft rustling of the wind, and hungry bears.

4) Makgadikgadi Pans National Park (Botswana)

Baobab trees at Kubu Island, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is located in the northeastern desert in Botswana. The vast, 3,900-square kilometer salt flat is home to a few human inhabitants. The crusty, saline terrain and the few baobab trees, which serve as landmarks, exude an eerie, otherworldly wonder. Despite its unique beauty, the Makgadikgadi is otherwise a hostile landscape where only a few animals and organisms survive. When night falls, the Makgadikgadi becomes a sublime place to stargaze. Spend quiet nights on these ancient pans under a blanket of stars, with just the whisper from the gentle night breeze that lulls tired campers to sleep.

5) Negev Desert (Israel)

Tabletop mountains in Negev Desert, Israel

Many people travel to Israel for religious reasons, as it is part of the Holy Land. Visiting the Negev Desert in southern Israel will surely bring a tremendous spiritual experience that every pilgrim or tourist will never forget. It’s been dubbed sometimes as “Israel’s Grand Canyon” — the mesas will surely remind you of the table-top mountains from the American Grand Canyon. The peace and quiet that sweep this rocky desert are truly incredible. You should include this on your future travel bucket list, especially if you are a lover of quiet desert nights.

6) Tak Ba He Cenote (Mexico)

cenote in Yucatan in clear water
Tak Ba He Cenote is a group of underwater caves in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. These cavernous underwater caves house numerous stalactites and crystal-clear waters. Unfortunately, the silence might not be heard these days as the caves have become a popular tourist destination. The caves do not allow sound and light in, so some areas are artificially lit. When the caves are devoid of people, they’re dead silent. You will hear nothing else but the sound of the dripping water from the hanging stalactites.

7) Wadi Rum Protected Area (Jordan)

two camels on the red desert and tall rocky mountains

Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is a 720-square kilometer (280 square miles) valley in southern Jordan. It’s the biggest wadi (valley) in the country. A natural, cultural, and historical site, the Wadi Rum is one of Jordan’s most popular tourist attractions. It is home to the Zalabieh tribe, which provides accommodations and eco-tours to guests. Despite its popularity as a tourist attraction, the sheer size of the valley still offers abundant opportunities for quietness and solitude among its majestic mountains, cliffs, caverns, gorges, and other rocky desert formations, apart from the valley itself. Temples, petroglyphs, and inscriptions are found throughout the area, giving clues to its intriguing past.

8) Kielder Mires (England, the United Kingdom)

Kielder Forest
Great Britain found the quietest place in the country only a few years ago. And that’s Kielder Mires, the name of a small, remote village and also the name of England’s largest area of blanket bog. Several factors, such as the distance from the nearest road or airstrip, contribute to the area’s tranquility.

9) Kelso Dunes, Mojave Desert (USA)

dunes in Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert may be one of America’s most popular tourist spots mainly due to its proximity to Las Vegas, Nevada, one of the world’s prime gambling destinations. However, the scorching summer heat, harsh living conditions, and the lack of wildlife keep average tourists away. There are also no roads, flight paths, or any cities close by (although a number of few planes fly overhead). The sand dunes, some as tall as 600 feet, prevent the sound’s ability to travel. The more adventurous tourists will be rewarded with the breathtaking sight of the rolling sand dunes, golden moments of solitude, and the sound of the winds blowing through the desert

10) Landmannalaugar (Iceland)

snowcapped mountains and streams in Landmannalaugar

Traveling to Iceland to get away from the noise? Within the Fajallabak Nature Reserve in Iceland’s highlands is Landmannalaugar, located at the edge of the Laugaharun lava field, which was formed from an eruption over 500 years ago. If you’re looking for some quiet open roads, Landmannalaugar is unbeatable. You can drive for miles without seeing a single soul there, not to mention enjoy seeing the hot springs and incredible snow-capped mountains and volcanoes. Hiking is also a popular activity there.